Today’s Lenten Lunch is at The First Baptist Church hosted by the Art UMC women. The volunteer “caravaners” building the Habitat for Humanity home will be our guests.
Sam Hoerster III will celebrate his birthday on Saturday, Mar. 29th. Have a great birthday Sam!
Next Sunday, Mar. 30, we will be having a Family Fellowship meal after morning worship. We will be saying goodbye to Jack and Lynn Sikora as they prepare to return to their home and friends in Connecticut. They have been staying in the Hasse House for the summer and I guess it just got too hot for them. We will really miss them and wish them a very safe trip home.
Also, on Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 noon we will have a workday to prepare God’s house for Easter.
Next Sunday, the 5th Sunday worship service will be held at Hilda UMC. There may be some special music by the ”Hillbilly Ministers.”
The Art Men’s Choir sang “Give Me Jesus” as their special music for March. They will also sing it for the 5th Sunday Service.
Ladies of Mason: It is time to start making cookies for the Kairos Prison visit after Easter. Start now; we need many dozen cookies.
Pray for those working on the Art Church ramp, Mason nursing home, and community jobs.
The Gospel scripture for the 3rd Sunday of Lent was John 4:5-42, the account of the “Woman at the Well.”
Pastor Cliff titled his message “Who do you think is in and who do you think is out?”
Jesus, as God, had an amazing and important interaction with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. This is the longest conversation Jesus has with any person in the Bible. It is important to understand the historical context and tension between Jews and Samaritans. A Jewish Jesus meeting a woman at a well would be noticed. The Samaritans are the most repulsive enemies they have. The land promised to Abraham were distant memories. When the Jewish people had no Temple and no land, they had to develop “kosher boundaries” to try and maintain their faith. This meant marry “only” Jews, keep the Sabbath. I suppose they thought God might notice, and perhaps restore them someday.
The Jews were allowed to return to Judea - Jerusalem. And guess who was there, waiting on them? The Samaritans. Now, since they had been kicked out of Israel for terrible disobedience to God, the Jews wanted to rebuild the temple. The Samaritans offered to help, but the Jews would not allow it. They kicked them out of Jerusalem. As a result, the Samaritans later built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, starting a continuing dispute about the “right” place to worship. You will hear the Samaritan woman ask Jesus about this. Jesus said: But the time is coming-- indeed it’s here now-- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Our Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth.” The Samaritan woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming-- the one who is called Christ. When He comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” (John 4:23-26)
Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her? They didn’t have the nerve to say it out loud, but I suspect the Samaritan woman could feel them staring at her, judging her with their eyes. And so, verse 28 says: The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah? So the people came streaming from the village to see Jesus. Back then, and today, we are interested in hearing “fortune tellers.”
Verse 31 says: Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “Jesus told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see Jesus, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world.”
They went to see a fortune teller, and instead, they hearts were changed, and they believed that Jesus was the Savior of the World, even though he was Jewish, and despite the way the Jews had treated them. What a miracle. Lifelong enemies, for generations, reconciled. Miracle. Heart change. Jesus said “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30) God was incarnate in the person of Jesus on earth. While on earth, God had an amazing and life changing discussion with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. It changed her heart. She no longer saw a Jew as her enemy. This is the longest conversation Jesus has with any person in the Bible. And it was with a Samaritan woman, the ultimate unclean outsider. It is about love. Loving those that we “the insiders” might think are especially “outside” the Kingdom of God on earth. It is about God’s amazing love. It was God showing us how to love our enemies. It was God’s greatest miracle: changing the hearts of God’s people. I don’t think it is possible to capture this amazing conversation between God and the woman in doctrine or creed. You can pray and hold it in your heart. Jesus answered the question of which temple, in Jerusalem or Mt Gerazim by telling us our Father wants us to worship in Spirit and in Truth.
Today, friends, as followers of Jesus, believers in God, filled with the Holy Spirit, we are called to go to the well. We are called to go to Samaria, the place where the unclean, the outcast, the strangers, the least are. It will not a place we would “normally” go. It will be a place we would not go unless God called us to go. God calls us to go to Samaria. If you believe, and if you have it in your heart to obey God with love, God will arrange the meeting with your Samaritan. And hearts will be transformed. In the 3rd week of Lent, can you hear God calling you to go? Amen.